50 Cent will forever go down in history as one of the GOATs of the rap game. From selling drugs at the young age of 12 to being discovered by Eminem who later signed him to his Shady Records imprint, the Queens, New York native has showcased lyrical prowess, resilience, and undeniable authenticity in his career, which have resulted in timeless hit records, endless awards, and mainstream success.
Now, real name Curtis James Jackson III is not only is the executive producer of Starz’s hit series “Power,” but he’s also the mastermind behind its three chapters. With the newest season titled “Power Book III: Raising Kanan,” fans are given the backstory to 50’s character Kanan, who died in the original “Power” series.
REVOLT caught up with 50 Cent to discuss what’s next in the “Power” universe, his long-lasting friendship with Eminem, being a Black man in America today, and more! Read below.
What are you most excited for with “Power Book III: Raising Kanan”?
I’m excited about the success of it. It was cool to have a 90s theme to it. Fashion-wise, it takes you back to that time period. How everyone dressed, the nostalgia of music. The period was just so different, a point where iconic people were coming out of their own environments. Out of their own neighborhoods, people were recognized in different places.
To go to that time period and to capture it the right way, Sascha Penn did an amazing job. Showrunner Sascha Penn was part of “Power” from the beginning.
What are your fondest memories of hip hop in the 90s?
I fell in love with hip hop in the 90s. The difference was you had to find it, hip hop at that point. It wasn’t so present. It played only for one hour on the “Red Alert Show” in New York. You had to take my grandmother’s cassette tapes, she used to go to the church with her tape recorder. What happened in the church, I’d take the tissue out of the bathroom and put it in the little square when the music came on the radio. At that point, that’s the only way you heard hip hop consistently. That’s why a lot of the musical influences are R&B records. The theme song for Raising Kanan is Keni Green’s “Risin’ To The Top.” That’s why the music feels and fits the timeline of things.
How did the concept for the different Power Books come about?
As “Power” was performing so well, I started to massage the idea of “Power” being a universe instead of it being viewed as a hit show. I was able to convince Starz that it could be multiple layers — multiple shows. Courtney supported my idea at that point, she continued from “Power” to “[Power Book II:] Ghost.” She was the writer/showrunner for “Ghost.” Book II is the first one out of the timeframe, it goes back. Then Tommy’s show is in real time, what he was doing. The things you see in that show would be what’s happening when you see the first episode of “Ghost.” You’re gonna see Tommy’s perspective, where he’s at, and what he did in his life following that. Pretty good.
When you were coming up as a rapper, did you think you would be here today? This writer, producer…
You know what? My energy shifted. Of course the storytelling process in music… after you pre-condition yourself for it, it’s very spontaneous. Then you condition yourself to move from one thing to the next pretty fast. It’s because if the record you’re listening to — at the present moment — that we recorded is a hit, we need another one. So immediately, that one’s up and working, and you’re back in the studio recording. You need another one right away.
A lot of times, artists in hip hop now, they don’t connect past that one hit. It’s because they’re consumed with the success of that song. If they make a record and it works, they’re out doing shows, running around, everything but being in the studio and still recording — when their ideas were there right when they made the song. If they made more material, they’d have more to work off of. The storytelling process in television is always a process. It more so changes from its original shape and form to what the finished product is. Afterwards when they actually trust the writer because they went through the successful season, they fall back and you start seeing less notes, but there’s still notes.
What can we expect next in the world of “Power”?
Man, we’re not even finished with this one… We’re almost at halftime. We’ll go to 10 on the season, and then shortly after “BMF.” The “BMF” series will come on right after, and that one is a whole other animal.
Because it’s the largest indictment to happen during the time period where music was shifting to Southern-based markets. The territories that they were in — they were hustling in and had a huge influence in — are the areas we now receive music out of. The references to the experience are constantly portrayed in the music at different points. It culturally connects with hip hop and music culture in a different way because of that.
How was it bringing Bia on stage in Miami?
That was fun. Look, Club E11even specifically is a different vibe. Those that go on in that space, the whole thing is fun. There’s no pressure for me to get off. I could go perform records and every single record I perform is number one… We could go look at the Billboard [charts] and say this one was number one. There’s no question whether we’re gonna have a good time or night. Bia, I wanted to make sure that she was received the right way, so I put her in the middle of what I was doing. It’s big for her, she’s protected at that point. You already got hit music going, she puts her song on in the middle of that and that female energy is there. Then we can go back to the regularly scheduled program (laughs).
What was your reaction to Eminem shouting you out on the new Nas album?
Friendship is the strongest form of relationship period. For friends, we offer the title too easy. People that didn’t deserve to be considered friends, they should still be associates. But, Em is one of the best relationships I ever had. He’s the person: what Dr. Dre is to him, Eminem is to 50 Cent. When he’s saying it to you, that’s not even coming up with the fit, you see what I’m saying? ‘Cause we do that. I’ll randomly text him, “Yo, I love you.” Because I’m in a space, in a position in my life where I do what I want to do. That comfortability came from him knowing me in the early stages and the excitement that he conveyed to me, it almost felt like someone was going to come from behind the car and say, “You’ve been punk’d.”
He was on the Marshall Mathers LP. That album sold 23 million records. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ selling 13 million records was unheard of. You had to be Tupac, and get shot and killed with a double CD to sell [that much]. It was really 5 million CDs that Tupac sold, but it was a double disk so it was considered diamond. But for a single disk to sell 13 million was unheard of. Any Black male, solo artist in hip hop music? Unheard of. The association to Em, coming under Em doing 23 million meant I was up to standard. I did it right because it allowed me to do 13. I went everywhere, I went door to door. Traveling, did all the different things. He hasn’t had to do anything for me, but be my friend because that first opportunity, what he did for me and doing the deal, that was enough.
What does it mean to be a Black man in America today?
It’s different. It’s pretty rough for people that are in circumstances where they’re being grouped in things. If I decide today I put on a blazer, I’m a good guy. But, if I have on athletic-inspired clothing, I could potentially be shot for doing the wrong thing, without doing anything. It’s a little different. I try not to harp on the negative stuff. There’s so much negative stuff, it’ll ruin your ability to enjoy yourself. [I like to keep] in good spirits. Even on social media, when I see shit from law enforcement, I don’t bother to put that on my social media. It’s enough of it there that it’ll bring my energy down when I’m looking at it, so I imagine what it’s doing for someone that’s not in the space I’m in.
Where do you get your content on IG?
(Laughs) The people I be following post stuff too, I get it from them.